graduating early from high school -- good or bad?

Discussion in 'Naval Academy - USNA' started by craeder, May 11, 2011.

  1. craeder

    craeder Member

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    DS (currently a junior in high school) will apply to USNA for the class of 2016 and is very excited to be attending NASS this summer.

    At the end of 1st semester senior year, he will have the credits/requirements needed to graduate early from high school. From USNA's perspective, would graduating early from high school be viewed favorably or unfavorably? He was interested in getting some work experience and/or taking some college classes but NOT if it could negatively impact his USNA application.

    He currently has a 3.92 weighted GPA, is in top 25% of his class, is taking Calculus (honors, not AP) and 3 AP classes (English, Psych and Environmental Science) as well as some other electives. If he leaves high school early, one downside is that he will only complete half of the year of physics (regular), computer science (honors), 4th year Spanish (honors), AP English and AP Econ that he was scheduled to take.

    Any/all insights would be appreciated. Thank you.
     
  2. Memphis9489

    Memphis9489 Parent

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    It's probably best if a Blue & Gold Officer answers this - however, if a candidate has a high school diploma - I don't see how it could matter.

    In fact, the second semester of senior year hardly even plays a role in admission.

    I don't even think the Academy would know (or care) quite frankly. They will evaluate you on all the standard criteria and will expect you to be a high school graduate when you show up for I-Day. Whether you do that in 4 or 3.5 years - I can't see how it would matter.
     
  3. Whistle Pig

    Whistle Pig Banned

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    I'm not familiar with USNA stance on this, and mine is purely speculation, so do not take it to heart. But I'm speculating your speculated downside might be viewed as a downside, especially the absence of the physics. Absent taking college classes, it's hard to project how USNA would see this all as positive. No benefit to bagging groceries for 6 months while foregoing a semester of physics, IT, English, etc. Now, if he's doing an internship in his MOC's office or playing page in the U.S. Senate? That'd be a different gig. The upside on taking college classes would be a genuine jump-start on Plan B, if necessary, and cannot imagine that would be viewed as anything but positive. However, classes beneficial might best be the traditional calc, chem, physics, etc.

    Bottomline: Call and discuss with USNA admissions officer. I WOULD NOT rely upon B&G officer on this question as they can be a pig-in-a-poke. Get this question answered straight from the goat's mouth.

    Presumably the age factor would not come into play?
     
  4. 2012mom?

    2012mom? Member

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    Agreed that CGO is best source of info. If we're being speculative, however....

    Taking college classes required for college freshmen (calculus, chemistry, English, etc.) during spring semester should be a benefit. Taking such classes should either prepare your son to validate some classes at USNA, or they should help him to do well when he takes them at USNA.

    Whether graduating early "to gain work experience" would be a benefit seems a bit less obvious. As WhistlePig noted, it might make a difference just what the work experience would be, the level of responsibility, the hours worked, etc.

    Graduating early to have several months of "play time" would seem to be a bad idea.

    While the second semester of senior year generally doesn't enter consideration, I wonder if MOC interviewers would notice (and ask about) an expected December graduation date. At the least, I would suggest that your son be ready to answer questions about how he plans to spend the spring, and why he thinks what he has chosen is a good use of his time.
     
  5. Memphis9489

    Memphis9489 Parent

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    Is it even required that a candidate notify the Academy or the MOC that they graduated early? I really don't even see how that enters the picture.

    They probably won't ask you will probably never have to tell. :)
     
  6. craeder

    craeder Member

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    WhistlePig: no, age is not an issue. He will be 18 this October.

    Thank you all -- very good info to digest/ponder. Agree that time must be used wisely and can be justified.
     
  7. singaporemom

    singaporemom Member

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    I'm going to chime in as a parent..... Unless there is a family situation that would require/need this young man to graduate.... (ie he needs to work, take care of siblings, difficult environment) please do not let him miss what some kids feel are the best months of their lives. Sure school is quite boring the last semester of senior year, but it is also quite thrilling.

    Seniors rule the school, get to goof off a bit, have fun with friends, watch each others ups and downs with college acceptances/rejections, prom, honors night, pep rallies, graduation, grad night. It's a magical, insane time. They are on cloud nine, an egotistical, pain in the rear-end, and it is a joy as a parent to watch them. If at all possible, let your DS have these moments. :smile:
     
  8. 2012mom?

    2012mom? Member

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    Memphis: My DD made up a resume that she gave to everyone in the process (BGO, recommenders, took copies to interviews, etc.). In it, she included her anticipated graduation date. If a candidate did not provide such a document, then you're right, probably no one in the process would know about the early graduation.
     
  9. Hurricane12

    Hurricane12 USNA 2012

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    I know a girl who graduated high school early and did a full year of college before she was old enough to go to USNA. So, it's possible, but I don't know how advisable it is.

    I'd say let him go for it. My last semester of high school was sort of worthless. I spent as little time as possible at school as it was, and would've liked to have the time completely to myself to do whatever.
    He can take the time and goof off, work, take a couple classes, and get a chance to relax and enjoy more of the "real world" before getting confined to Bancroft Hall for four years.
     
  10. GoNavyMom

    GoNavyMom Member

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    Hurricane, I am not sure I would agree with this advice. As a BGO, I would expect a better explanation of how the time was spent and would have to look at the whole person, but "goofing off" for six months would certainly impact my rating of a candidate. If the six months were spent traveling, learning another language, volunteering, etc. (you get the idea), then it would positively impact a candidates rating.
     
  11. usna1985

    usna1985 USNA Alumnus

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    It doesn't hurt per se to graduate early. The questions in terms of its impact on USNA are severalfold:

    (1) Age -- which you have answered.

    (2) Classes taken. If the student has completed 12th grade level classes in less time and done well, that's not an issue.

    (3) Maturity. This is hard to measure and isn't solely age dependent. I would assume that USNA will rely heavily on teacher recs and secondarily on the BGO recommendation. Given that this candidate is with his class, just finishing early, that's not an issue.

    In terms of what to do with the extra semester . . . it's true that it won't have much impact on your USNA application other than someone may ask what you intend to do IF it comes up that you're graduating early. I suggest taking additional classes at your local CC, etc. Working is nice and a valuable skill but not really needed for USNA purposes and there's plenty of time in life to work. Another option is volunteering full time for a charity. I wouldn't "goof off" for many reasons.
     
  12. Whistle Pig

    Whistle Pig Banned

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    And in line with '85's recommendation re: the college issue, and this IS reality for the vast majority of candidates, i.e. that Plan B will in most cases become Plan A ... that in taking a semester's worth of classes and getting a jump start on what will most likely, playing the odds, become very valuable.

    AND they could become very valuable in several ways:

    1. IF/WHEN it becomes necessary to enroll at that non-Academy institution if/when rejected; and

    2. IF/WHEN the candidate, upon receiving a rejection/TWE, AND determining he/she wants to re-apply, then the candidate has 3 semesters of presumably high-quality and "correct" work.

    Now, here's the question in all of this:

    IF a student takes these courses, and fails to do A/B work does he place his candidacy in jeopardy?

    Is the student still evaluated as a HS student (vs. a 1st year college student)? Does it make any difference?
     
  13. Hurricane12

    Hurricane12 USNA 2012

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    That's why I said "goof off and (etc)." I'm not talking about sitting on a couch all day long. But that'd be a good time to do some things for yourself you wouldn't be able to do at the Academy due to time constraints. For example, if I'd had more time before going to USNA I would've gotten my EMT-basic or wilderness first responder certification, my firearms ID, and maybe finished up my pilot's license (all of which I've either had not enough time, money, or been too lazy to do here).
     

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